Most people would associate a Bali holiday with a beach bum life. But for all you artsy souls out there, Bali is actually a very good place to try your hands on some traditional art as well!
Review: Art lessons in Ubud
During my most recent visit to Bali, I went to WS Art Studio for an afternoon of art lessons in Ubud. Owned and run by a super friendly Balinese lady by the name of Ayu, the studio offers a handful of different classes you can choose from – silver smithing, puppet making, stone carving, traditional painting, bamboo weaving and more. Workshop duration varies from 2 to 4 hours. Classes are held in an open-air space nestled amongst rice fields, promising you the complete Balinese art experience.
My brother and I chose to spend the day carving a wayang (traditional shadow puppet) out of dried leather, while my mom opted to do some fruit carving. We had separate instructors, and they both were really good and patient!
Here’s how the puppet making class went –
We first had to draw an outline of our wayang on a piece of paper. The instructor then took the huge bolt of dried leather and cut out a piece just big enough for the sketch to fit into.
The whole point of puppet making was to carve out the leather into the shape of the wayang we had sketched – complete with all the intricate holes and curves and details. In order to do that, we had to use nails to fasten the piece of leather onto a block of wood, with the sketch placed in between.
The leather was half-transparent, so we could just trace the sketch as we carved. It was SO DIFFICULT. We had to hammer in the chisel into the leather just deep enough to create the desired shapes, otherwise the details would get distorted. We also had to pick different-sized chisels for the different shapes we wanted to make.
The instructor helped me a few times along the way, but by the end of it my hands were hurting and my eyes were going square. My brother, however, picked it up really quickly and breezed through the whole thing. Boys.
After we finished carving out our wayang, the instructor helped us fasten a bamboo stick through the middle, as well as attach a pair of arms to the body. We could then paint them!
The next time I’m in Bali, I’ll probably come back and try the other classes. When we arrived there were a couple of Caucasian tourists who were just finishing their stone carving lesson – they made a stone turtle and it looked really interesting!
Visit their website here>> to see the full list of classes they offer. Call a day in advance to book a class, but if you want to be totally sure you can also call a few days prior to check with Ayu. Lessons are priced reasonably; my puppet-making class was around IDR 350,000 (~SGD 35), which I would consider a fair price for the experience I got. If you are staying in Ubud, they have a pick-up service to bring you to-and-fro your accommodation. Otherwise, get your driver to call them for directions, because the studio is really, literally, in the middle of rice fields. I’d argue the journey there was already half the adventure 😉
WS Art Studio Address: Lodtunduh, Ubud, Gianyar Regency, Bali 80571, Indonesia Phone: +62 821-4689-5330 (cp: Ayu) Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm Website: www.craftworkshopbali.com